Local Girl Scout Troop decides to fill shoe boxes with gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Members of local Girl Scout Troop 50016 help organize the hundreds of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes collected in Prineville. Pictured left to right are Emmalie McCoy, Megan Forbes, Vanessa Younger, and Alliya Day.

After the cookie sales conclude, local Girl Scout Troop 50016 tries to find ways to use the money they made to help others in the community.
   This year, they decided to also use it to help people in other countries, filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a charitable program that distributes gifts to children in need worldwide.
   Troop leader Lisa Forbes gave the 12-to-14-year-old Girl Scouts the option of compiling a single shoebox as a troop or letting each girl fill their own shoebox.
   “They each wanted to do one,” she said, “which I though was really neat that they were willing to use that much of their cookie money to do that.”
   With their missions set, Emmalie McCoy, Megan Forbes, Vanessa Younger, and Alliya Day hit the stores. While shopping they tried to stay mindful of what gifts would best suit the needs of children in other parts of the world.
   “We looked for hard candies to give to them, because they can’t have chocolate, because if it is too hot, it will melt,” explained Megan Forbes. She added that they looked for toys with most of them picking teddy bears because “we thought they were cute.”
   When they began packing their shoeboxes, the girls quickly discovered how tough it can be to make everything fit.
   “We had to swap different things,” Megan said.
   After some creative gift juggling, the girls took their loaded shoeboxes to Prineville’s Church of the Nazarene, where they helped pack nearly 700 gift boxes just like theirs.
   “It was a little overwhelming at first,” Megan admits. “So many boxes everywhere.”
   From Prineville, the boxes were shipped to a California processing center.
   From there, the girls have no idea where their shoeboxes will go – but they have wondered about it a bit.
   “I thought they would go to Egypt or something,” said Vanessa Younger. “I think that would be kind of cool.”
   As it turns out, they will eventually learn where the shoeboxes went.
   “Since we processed ours online, we get a bar code and they’ll e-mail us and tell us where they got delivered to,” Forbes said.
   For all of the girls, the best part of the whole Operation Christmas Child process was simply the knowledge throughout the process that they were helping someone else in need.
   “It was fun,” Megan concluded.
   Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization led by Franklin Graham, that collects gift-filled shoeboxes and delivers them in the name of Jesus Christ to children living in desperate situations around the world. In 2012, the program will reach more than 9 million children worldwide.
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